Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: luck

Luck be, no maybe

My Taiji teacher told me that her classmate got into a terrible motorcycle accident last Sunday. He had a super-great helmet (which got crushed) so his head is fine, but the left side of his body is destroyed. Everything is broken, torn, or sprained. Collarbone, tibia, maybe femur, arm. Broken bones mend, yes, but torn ligaments take longer. We’re talking probably at least a year if not longer. He had a heart attack a few years back–or was it a stroke? Pretty sure it was a heart attack.

At any rate, he’s in a world of hurt. He’s still in the hospital, obviously, and he’s going to be for some time. I, on the other hand, was in and out of the hospital in two weeks. This has been on my mind lately. How incredibly lucky I was.

I felt it keenly for the first month or so after I woke up. The hospital chaplain asked if I questioned why the experience happened to me. No! I’m not special. There’s no reason I shouldn’t have walking (non-COVID-related) pneumonia, two cardiac arrests, and a stroke.

It’s fascinating to me when people think that they should be excepted from something because–well, I’m not sure why. It was like when 9/11 happened. So many people said incredulously that they could not believe it had happened here in America whereas I was just surprised it hadn’t happened earlier.

I told the hospital chaplain that I had no reason to think something like that should not happen to me, but what did surprise me was that I didn’t stay dead. That was where the ‘why me?’ came in. Why was I lucky enough to come back for a second time and not die again?

I know that sounds morbid. It’s not meant to be, though. The first six months I was back alive, i marveled about it almost constantly. I should have been dead. I should have been dead. I should be dead. I am not dead. That is the proper declension of that.

Once in a while, I will tihnk about it and be stunned at how lucky I am. A year and 3/4ths later, I am better than ever. I have a few issues such as short-term memory gaps and having to flounder about for a word now and again, but I will take it in exchange for being alive.

Really, that’s the kicker every time. I’m alive when I should be dead. There’s no way that can be overstated or overemphasized. I should not be here. My life should be over. The fact that I still draw breath is incredible and amazing!

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Survivor’s guilt

When I was in the hospital, I had a chat with the chaplain. I was not asked if I wanted to have this chat beforehand, but I did not mind. At that point with all the drugs pumping through my veins, I would have talked with anyone.

He told me that I may feel survivor’s guilt at some point, which I didn’t while I was in the hospital. Wait. That’s not exactly true. One day, while I was lying in bed as I was for much of my first few days awake, I overheard my care team talking about another patient. She was a young woman in her twenties and had just died from COVID. I felt survivor’s guilt then because she was so young and had died. More info came out such as she had not been vaxxed, nor had her entire family. And it turned out her mother died as well.

Later, I realized that the whole thing probably did not happen. I hallucinated a lot while I was in the hospital, and this was probably one of the delusions. It just did not make sense that they would all be talking about this patient and that they all knew her outside of the hospital, even though the family were ranchers with a website. Yes, this was what my brain was telling me was the truth. I don’t think any of it happened, but it did make me feel guilty that I had survived while this mythical twenty-two year old had died.

When I went home, I was mostly profoundly grateful to be alive. I was amazed at how brilliant everything was. Well, not everything as I had to deal with the family dysfunction, but apart from that, everything was awesome.

I didn’t think about much of anything, to be honest, for the first month. I was just resting up and regaining my strength. I started slowly with my Taiji, only doing stretching the first few weeks. I did try the sword on day three, just three movements. That was way too much, but it also showed me that I would get it back again eventually.

That was the important part. I needed to know that I would still be able to do my weapons. I didn’t care about anything else, really, in the first few weeks. I could not see properly, so I could not do much online for the first week. My brother made the font larger so I could read websites, but that was for very brief amounts of time.

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